You have to hand it to the Boston Herald on this one. The Weekly Dig usually dispenses the mean-spirited disses, but this Michael Marotta column on bad summer trends takes the cake. Specifically, the following point:
Ivy League indie rock
Right now, Vampire Weekend and Chester French are taking our hard-earned money with half-hearted indie songs. But you know that when their 15 minutes expire, theyâ€™ll become our bosses. Double-whammy bar, indeed.
Finally. And I thought I was the only one who saw nothing in Vampire Weekend. Just like every white person, I enjoy my fair share of indie rock. But a band like Vampire Weekend just absolutely kills the point for me every time – it creates a formula and brings it to its dullest nadir.
Thank goodness for Heavy Heavy Low Low.
When I stumbled upon the description of the San Jose group’s newest album, Turtle Nipple and the Toxic Shock, I could feel my pupils dilate. Suffice to say, I was quite curious to hear what a collective sonic sample of Black Flag, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and the Beach Boys would sound like. Needless to say, the album didn’t live up to my expectations, mostly because I couldn’t imagine any sort of aural idea for what the band was shooting for. And it certainly provided me with a nice kick of, well, punk fury.
Though HHLL clearly bare the mark of an act drenched in third wave emo/screamo, that was just a starting point for the band. Much as the description that emblazons the new album notes, Turtle Nipple and the Toxic Shock sees the group foregoing typical grindcore fare that they seem to have gotten stuck in on their earlier material. Sure, they’ve got aggressive, speedy blasts of punk delivered in seconds flat (Black Flag; check), they’ve got adam’s apple-smashing screams surrounding meticulous, mathy chord progressions (Dillinger Escape Plan; check). But, they seem matured and self-assured, as the second half of the album opens up with restrained treks into atmospheric and ambient pop territory (Beach Boys; well, sort of check). It may not be the most listen-able record of the summer, but it certainly is an enthralling, unexpected, and exciting trip. Now there’s something I can’t say about Vampire Weekend.
Heavy Heavy Low Low – Inhalent Abuse (video):
If you’re in the mood for some great rock music that won’t hit you like a sack of rocks, download Nick Catchdubs and Mr. Ducker’s Radio Friendly Unit Shifter Mixtape. It’s a 90s-themed jam that reworks some great “old” tunes. And the only nostalgia it seems to bring up is a reminder of the time before commercial radio was one big Nickelback song.